2020-08-26: Impromptu Tech Support

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Impromptu Tech Support
Through happenstance Bobbi and Vic meet just in time for Vic to help Bobbi with her computer.
IC Date August 26th, 2020
IC Time noon-ish to ~1pm
Players Bobbi and Vic
Location Prospect Roasters
Spheres Traditions
Theme Song Exclamations by Brobdingnagian Bards

It's just before noon and another warm and sunny day in Prospect, California. Roaster's morning coffee stampede is long over, and the lunch crowd are still watching the campus clocks, the first stomach grumbles only just materializing. A scant smattering of customers are on the patio at the moment, likely the self-employed, questionably employed, and just unemployed. Among them is a young dreadlocked women, bespecktacled and heavily tattooed.

Bobbi is sitting in a chair, one leg stretched out, the other leg pulled up onto the chair, knee pulled close to her chest. Today's she's wearing a 3/4 length royal blue and white threadbare basball tee tucked into high high waisted cut-off jorts, knee high adidas socks -- white with the iconic stripes in blue, matching the shirt -- and a pair of adidas running shoes. On the table in front of her is a mug of coffee and a laptop computer, which looks fairly new, but does the stupidest things that make you just want to grab it and scream and hurl is across the room and wish that Redmond, Washingon would just get swallowed up by some horrible natural disaster ending modern society's obsession with this stupid computer thing once and for all and --

"ARRGGGGGHHHHHH," Bobbi expressed it more succinctly, her hands momentarily balling up into little fists, her face twisting in an expression of rage, that also indicates some level of self-aware amusement with her predicament. Reaching forward, she picks up her mug of coffee and takes a sip, contemplating her next move.


Having spent the morning exploring the city again, as has become her routine in the past couple of days, Vic has decided to return to a known source of victuals. She's dressed casually, as is typical for her, in a gray shirt that reads "Nope", jeans and her purple and black hiking boots and has her messenger bag slung across her back.

Despite obviously having had the intention of heading into the coffee shop proper the exclamation from the deadlocked woman with the laptop catches her attention. As a result she turns to and steps onto the patio. Rather than directly approaching Bobbi she first goes to Jacob and puts in an order for one of the charity meals Roasters offers and then walks over to the frustrated young woman. "Computer problems?" she asks idly, sounding prepared for a brush off.


"I figured out the CAPS LOCK key," Bobbi begins to explain in a quiet, yet frustrated tone, as she stares at the screen not yet having looked to the person talking to her, "which is good as my left pinkie got really achey yesterday. And I'm able to switch my programs without rebooting -- " Bobbi awkwardly moves the cursor, and based on her movements, one might be convinced that moving their whole body closer to the laptop was a prerequisite for actually clicking a button. Which she finally does, and the screen moves from notepad.exe to Interet Explorer " -- but then yesterday my friend said they were 'cleaning things up' and now all my browser plug-ins are gone, and -- "

Bobbi finally turns to ook at the woman, making eye contact in that friendly, but almost too intense way that hippies are wont too. " -- and now I can't find the puppy website," she sheepishly admits, "and I could really use a break, I've been computer hacking all morning."


Vic nods about the Caps Lock, assuming a novice computer user at first. She's mid-way from removing the bag from her shoulder and stops at the 'switching programs without rebooting' comment; she does manage to avoid the incredulous facial impression but she fails to gracefully sit down after the brief pause. Another nod about the cache cleaning and just shakes her head at the hacking comment.

"So, could you tell me exactly what you feel hacking is before we go any farther?" Vic asks, managing for the most part to not sound like a school teacher talking to a kindergartner.


"Oh, whoah," Bobbi says, her mind seemingly blown by this question, "do you know less about computers than I do?" Bobbi looks back to the laptop and demonstrates. "When you first start you do hunting-and-pecking," Bobbi explains as she shows what this looks like to Vic. "They call it that, because you see how before I press a key my head goes down a little bit towards the keyboard? I guess that's like the way a chicken gets food. But when you finally figure things out -- " Bobbi begins an exagerrated gesture of typing and mousing that looks not a little bit like the flailing arm gestures of a one 'Kermit the Frog.' " -- it's like you no longer /are/ the chicken, you're /preparing/ the chicken. Your hands move like your a master chef 'hacking' up chicken breasts." Bobbi looks to Vic and says, "I just pretend they're talking about textured vegetable protein and the metaphor still works."


Vic chuckles at the question and then proceeds to pull a smart phone out of an outer pocket of her bag after which she flips the bag open and pulls out her own laptop.

The laptop is black with red trim. On the back of the top is a stylized T within a circle which lights up red when Vic turns the system on. It finishes its power up sequence as Bobbi is flailing her arms. Vic puts her fingers on the keyboard and begins touch typing instructions into the system while Bobbi's discussion of preparing the chicken turns to hacking up poultry.

"I see," Vic says as she finishes typing a few additional directions into the laptop and then reaches down into her bag and pulls out a Y shaped cord which she lays into her lap and says, "Just wanted to be sure because the government defines computer hacking differently and I wanted to be certain we weren't discussing that after all." She pauses and asks, "So, you lost your browser plugins and can't find your puppy website?" actually cracking a smirk on the last two words for some reason.


"Well, the government defines all sorts of things in terrible ways," Bobbi notes to Vic, "so I wouldn't be surprised if they got 'hacking' wrong as well. You wouldn't believe the things they consider to be actually bad things, pretty sure they have an agenda of some sorts." Bobbi gives a little shrug, luckily not going too far down the rabbit-hole of spaced-out conspiracies regarding the federal government.

"I tried 'puppies.com'," Bobbi begins to explain as she types 'puppies.com' into the 'Bing search bar'. "But you don't want to click on the links /that/ brings up," Bobbi says as she grimaces and shudders lightly. Then reaching forward, she picks up her coffee mug, the off-white ceramics disappearing behind a curtain of tattoos. "My friend said she didn't delete any websites, and I believe her, but I have no idea where she put it," Bobbi explains as she sips her coffee.


A server brings out a plate with a Cuban sandwich, wedge cut french fries and a cup of coffee which they set down next to Vic and remind her that she can ask for another drink still when she's ready for it, then departs. "I doubt she deleted anything, did you check the favorites menu?" Vic asks before taking a bite of the sandwich while at the same time typing one handed across the whole keyboard with only a bit less than half the speed she had been typing two handed previously.


"Favorites menu?" Bobbi asks of Vic, as she looks at her with a blank stare. "Wow, they're really pushing this chicken metaphor," she says as she looks bac to the computer. Leaning in slightly she narrows her eyes, as she begins to scrutinize the browser, probably looking for some restaurant menu that she believes has so far escaped her attention -- it's possible, she knows she can be a bit spacey and aloof at times. "Oooooooh," Bobbi explains as she notices a 'star' near the URL, "how much further until I get 'Michelin rated'?"


Vic seems to be relieved that the continued metaphor is one she recognizes. "Okay, so, that's your analogy not the computers," she says bluntly before taking another bite of her sandwich and washing it down with a sip of the coffee. Then she says, "If you'd like I could help you install some basic use tutorials on your computer so that you could use it to start learning how to better use the device rather than your 'hack and hope' method. Course, you don't know me so I'm not sure how much you'd trust me to do this." She seems to be ready to wait for an answer when she adds, "I'm called Vic by the way," as if that will mean much of anything.


"I'm Bobbi," Bobbi says with a friendly smile, as she turns to look at Vic with an almost too intense smile. "and yeah, sure, go ahead," Bobbi says to Vic, "my friend Vertigo apparently setup the laptop so I don't have to worry about sending The Bitcoin again, so while I might not know how to use the damn-darsh thing, bad things won't happen to it anymore." Bobbi chuckles lightly and notes, "my friend was just telling me about a new friend she has named Vic that knows computers, isn't it weird that there are two of you in Prospect?" Bless her heart, she's trying.


Laughing kindly Vic says, "Yeah, total coincidence," as she connects the short end of the Y cord to her smartphone and one of the longer (top parts of the split section) to her laptop. "That's me," she says instead of carrying on the farce and then says, "Connect this to the port that it fits into." and then, quickly adds, "Don't try to force it, it will connect easily when you find the right port and I don't know your computer well enough to tell you exactly where you'll find it but this adapter will work for you."


'that's me?' Bobbi mouths to herself as she tries to figure this out. "but then -- " Bobbi says as the gears turn, before exclaiming, "oh! oh! oh! You /are/ that Vic. Why didn't you say so sooner? Why don't we go continue this conversation in the basement? I'll buy us a cookie along the way, you can't say no to a cookie can you?" Bobbi looks at Vic expectantly, perhaps recalling the puppies she's been searching for, leaving the question of plugging in the computer to wait for now.


Vic chuckles and shakes her head. "No, I can't say no to a cookie," she says. "Let me put my stuff away and we can do just that!" she says as she unhooks the cable from her equipment and presses a set of three keys to suspend her computer. She slips it into her bag along with the cable, letting the bag close the lid for her. She puts her phone into a pocket and then stands, puts her bag over her shoulder and then picks up the plate and cup. "Lead on," she says, "As this will be my first time to the bacement."


With a brief stop at the counter to buy a cookie, which somehow seems much bigger than it should -- though surely no one would be so irresponsible as to change the fabric of reality to make a cookie super big and tasty -- Bobbi leads Vic to the basement. "Bobbi, bani Xaos," Bobbi begins to explain, mentioning a small Discordian House within the, "Sisterhood of Hermes." Well, she calls it that. "Welcome to Prospect," she says with a smile, "well, welcome to this Universe, I know how jarring that change can be, so I hope your adjusting well. If you ever need help with a motor vehicle, I owe you one."

Bobbi bounds over to the couches, pulling her sneakers off with her feet, and then pulling up her legs up and underneath her. Her butt wiggles lightly as she scooches into /just/ the right comfy position on the couch, and then, licking her lips lightly she looks at the Way Too Big Cookie (tm) and is about to bite, when she thinks better of it. Bobbi looks to Vic, holding out the cookie, offering her the first bite. Apparently they're sharing -- Bobbi's a hippie after all -- which is probably a good thing, as the darn cookie is about the size of one of their heads.


Vic follows along with Bobbi though the shop and down into the basement. As she sits down with her fellow mage she says, "Vic, Virtual Adept, and yeah I'm new to the world, thanks for the welcome."

The plate and glass get set down on a nearby table and out comes the laptop and smart phone again. She connects them with the cable then reaches for Bobbi's computer. "May I," she asks? with her hand hovering near to the indicated device as she waits for an answer.


A laptop in one hand, a cookie in the other, Bobbi holds them both out for Vic to take, the two objects being almost the same size, though likely with quite different masses. "Ok, so you met Arumi," Bobbi notes, "have you met Vertigo? She's the one that gave me that laptop, and she's also sorta the head of the Virtual Adepts in Prospect. She does a lot of tech support for me, but I've been trying to farm it out to others due to that eye twitch she's starting to develop."

"I'm not that great with computers," Bobbi states the obvious, "nor do I know that much about pop culture. Other things, though? Other things are kinda my specialty. So if you have something you need help with, just let me know and I'll repay the favor."


Vic takes the laptop first and sets it down on the lid of her own. After connecting it to the other end of the Y split she starts swiping her phone with the hand holding it while taking the cookie with the other. "Mmmm," she utters while enjoying the first bite of the cookie and then, after that, she says, "So, the WiFi here is incredible so I'm going to hook you up with some interactive learning programs. The first is truly elementary..." literally something yoinked in pieces from every elementary school's systems within the nearest megameter of Prospect (so that it supports both English and Spanish) that teaches kids the basics of typing with a standard keyboard and number entry on a number pad as well "... but it will help you get out of that nasty hack and hope mentality maybe." Yeah, she's not pulling her punches there but it was said with a smile and a chuckle so she's also not being mean either.

Another bite of the cookie is taken before its set down on top of the coffee cup and she goes two handed on the phone's keyboard. "Next, I've found a copy of Windows for Dummies in PDF form... that's a weird name for a DBE file..." 'DBE' she pronounces like Dobby from Harry Potter "... but it looks like that's what Adobe uses in this world for its file extensions. I confirmed you have the right program to view it and I made it a shortcut on the desktop and start menu. I recommend you read it." She pauses and looks excited, "Ooooh, that's interesting also. Bing is owned by the company that makes your OS...." at which point she turns her attention from the phone to her new friend and asks, "Do you use it intentionally? There's others that might serve you so much better."


"I don't like that name," Bobbi says as she scrunches up her face lightly, "It's mean. Do you have like, 'Windows for Princesses' or something? That sounds much nicer." Bobbi looks forward to figure out what is being talked about by 'Bing'. As she does so she takes a bite of the cookie, though leaves it in Vic's hands. "rhhat rhoosh -- " Bobbi begins to say, and then swallows the cookie, "That's what I use to google things." Bobbi leans in and types 'google.com' into the Bing box, and hits enter. "That website is really useful," Bobbi explains to Vic, "I'm sad not to have the puppies, but I feel like I'd be lost without being able to Bing the Google."


Vic watches Bobbi use Bing to search for and load another search engine with undisguised astonishment and then types in a quick sequence on her phone after which the IE window on the other mage's computer flashes briefly and she says, "Google is now your homepage. It'll be on every tab you open at first. Also, I've locked you out of IE's settings for the time being, you can use the app but you cannot make any changes to it other than adding favorites. If and when you find it limiting let me or another V-Dept know and any of us can adjust it for you." She doesn't go onto say that this is a soft lockout, the button is hidden but any preteen in this world who has any experience with Microsoft Windows could find it. "Its for your safety," she adds.


Bobbi tilts her head lightly and furrows her brow as she looks at the Google homepage. Then an idea comes to her, and she leans in and types 'google.com' into the Google homepage search box. This pulls up a page with results that look similar to what she's used to, and she gives a single emphatic nod, quite pleased with these latest developments. "And that puppies?" Bobbi wonders, taking this conversation back to it's all important roots.


Vic subtly makes the search results for google.com the homepage and default tab page on Bobbi's computer then pulls up a search result for pictures of puppies (with work safe turned on strongly) and asks, "Would this be what you mean by the puppies page?" as she nods to the screen.


"Those are different puppies," Bobbi notes, her eyes big and bright, her hands clasped in front of her chest, a big grin on her face -- in short the look of a woman who seems on the verge of 'squee!' "but those are good puppies," Bobbi adds, a bit hypnotized, "I guess all doggos are good doggos, but wow is that a lot of puppies. I guess there's more than one puppy page on the internet?"


Vic chuckles and says, "Odds are for every subject you might go to look there's more than a hundred score webpages on it, Bobbi," as she taps out another sequence on her phone to create a shortcut and second homepage. "So, there's an icon on your desktop that will open that search result directly. And every time your browser loads it'll have your preferred google.com starting point and the puppies search on two tabs. All the puppies link does it load the browser with the puppies page on top." She pauses and asks, sounding just a bit worried what the answer is going to be, "You know what a browser tab is, right?"


"oooooooooh," Bobbi exclaims clearly excited and impressed by all of this. "That's a lot of websites," Bobbi notes, "the internet seems pretty vast, no wonder some people thing it's dangerous." Bobbi furrows her brow and looks to Vic, asking, "browser tab?" Clearly she has no idea what's being asked about, but she uses this opportunity to take another bite of cookie, and despite the bites, one might be forgiven for thinking the cookie is actually getting bigger.


Vic points to the two tabs on the screen as she grabs her cookie with the other hand and takes another bite as she taps the tabs with two fingers alternatingly, using Data to allow her to influence the computer display as if the non-touchscreen had that functionality. After swallowing the deliciously sweet bite she says, "Those are tabs."


"Is that where my websites were going?" Bobbi asks, amazed at this revelation, and recalling past frustrations. "Ok," she says, seeming like she might actually be getting this, "so what do we need to do to get the Michelin Star? I mean, we don't have to do that right now, I just kinda want to know what the goal is that I'm running towards, y'know? Like visualize the finish line."


"This isn't cooking so there's no Micheline Stars for this," Vic explains calmly. She then causes the typing tutor program to launch and hands the computer to Bobbi, still connected to her phone and laptop though the Y-cord. "That program, which has an icon on your desktop and start menu also, will give you daily goals and tracks your progress. You'll get star rankings from zero to five based on your performance in the lessons and games so I guess you can think of them as an equivalent?"


"Well yeah, not literal cooking," Bobbi notes to Vic, "just continuing the chicken metaphor, and yeah, this looks like the step between hacking and michelin stars." Bobbi looks to Vic and smiles, telling her, "Thanks. You've been really helpful and patient with me. I'm sure there's probably a thing or two I've said today about computers that made you roll your eyes, but you never were condescending about it. Well, except for when you called me a dummy, but that's ok, as it's not that bad, but probably best to avoid words like that in the future." Bobbi leans over and wraps Vic up in a big hippie hug.


Vic shakes her head and says, "I didn't call you a dummy, its the name of a series of books that came out the year I was born which happens to exist here as well. I'm using 'Prospect California for Dummies' as a guide to the city after all," before sipping at her coffee again. She then sets the cookie down on her laptop lid and leans over to gently remove the Y-cord from Bobbi's computer. "Its a set of basic, non-intimidating instructional guides and reference books," she further explains.


Bobbi wrinkles her nose lightly, clearly not liking the title of this book series, but at least convinced it was not a personal insult. "Ok, I think I understand," Bobbi notes, "though I'm not sure why you'd want to be mean and condescending in the title of a guide meant to be non-intimidating." Bobbi gives a little shrug and doesn't think much more about this, instead leaning in to take another bite of a cookie.


"I think you're reading way too much into it, Bobbi," Vic says as she disconnects her own electronics from the cable, which she puts away. She opens her laptop and checks to make sure the copies of the software she yoinked are properly compressed on it before taking another bite of her sandwich, which is cold but still yummy based on the appreciative noise she makes while eating it. This almost orgasmic reaction to a simple sandwich she explains by saying, "The Feds outlawed these as an UnAmerican Food Product five years ago."


"Yeah, well ... " Bobbi begins to say to this, but thinks better than to really get into it. "I didn't hear abou that," Bobbi says slightly confused, "I still see sandwiches everywhere, so I guess they're not really enforcing it." Bobbi takes the laptop back from Vic, looks at the puppies one last time, and then closes the laptop, putting it away. That's probably enough computer hacking for Bobbi today.


"Oh, no," Vic says with obvious embarrassed surprise. "I'm referring to my home dimension, Bobbi, not here." She pauses and gets those 'thinking hard wrinkles' between her eyebrows that many people get for a few moments. "Right!" she exclaims, "I'm so used to thinking of them as just 'The Feds' I forgot for a moment the name they had before I was inducted into the Traditions. You would call them Technocrats. Where I come from they're integrated into the IS," pronounced Eye-Ess, "Government."


"Oh, duh!" Bobbi says with a grin as she lightly slaps the side of her head, "Different Universe. Well, welcome to our Universe. Well, it's your Universe too, but not your birth Universe, but you're welcome here, and -- " Bobbi's cellphone goes off, and it takes her a moment to realize what the noise is and answer the phone. "Oh shoot," she notes as she looks down at the phone, "I got an emergency at my garage, I gotta run." Bobbi reaches over and hands Vic a business card for a garage called 'Angel Restorations' no email address or website, as one might have guessed. "Thanks again for your help, be in touch," Bobbi says, before leaning in to give Vic another hug, take a last bite of Enormously Too Big Cookie (tm) -- though plenty is still left for Vic, perhaps more than they even started with -- then grabs her things and heads up the stairs.